1. Be unapologetically yourself.
I am extremely outspoken. I’ll just let you in on that little tidbit now. That loud mouth combined with excessive empathy and a short fuse often lead me to being a little excessive about defending things that I perceive to need defending.
Sometimes this is overwhelming for my friends and my family. I know everyone is always wondering what strong opinions I’ll be sharing this week. I try to keep it in check, and save my outspokenness for the really important things. But sometimes, I still get a little too passionate about things.
But one thing’s for sure, there’s no one you’d rather have on your side if you needed someone to stand up for you in a time of crisis! I’m your girl 😉
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive – Howard Thurman.
2. Admit and learn from your mistakes.
We all make little (and sometimes big) mistakes everyday. If you’re me, you might make mistakes in phases… three solid weeks of mistakes, 3 weeks of feeling like I actually have my shit together. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Denying our mistakes only makes them grow… just like Pinocchio’s poor little nose. It’s better just to admit to yourself that you messed up and figure out what you can learn from it.
There is no better learning experience than making a mistake. You learn about integrity, taking responsibility, what works, what doesn’t work, who you can trust, what we really want and how we want to live.
No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone is as just as flawed as everybody else. The difference comes in whether you learn from the mistakes. So learn from them and move on.
3. Understand that growth and change are essential
Most of us are not the same person we were 10 years ago. Most of us probably aren’t even the same person we were 2 years ago. How about one year ago? Anyone feel like they haven’t changed in the last year?
I’m willing to bet that most of you reading agreed that you have changed in the last year. (And so has almost everyone else on the face of the planet!)
Sometimes change doesn’t come easily. When change feels difficult and overwhelming, I start calling it growth. When things start changing but we don’t really want them to… that’s Growth. We drag our feet, and we hope for the best, and we ignore that everything is changing and try to hold on to what’s familiar. And no matter how hard we try to fight it, things change, just like people grow, and suddenly you’re left with growing pains and everything is different.
But what I’ve learn is that change is just an opportunity to grow.
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
4. Frequently remind yourself that YOU decide who you are.
It can be hard to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to conform you to their perceived normal. We are living in a culture that is over-saturated with sales pitches telling us how we can become our best self with this wrap, these supplements, this ebook, these essentials oils, that makeup or this meditation track for only $9.99.
You have a purpose. You are here to figure out what that purpose is and to bring it to life. You decide who you are. You decide what you’re passionate about. You decide where you go on your journey and even who goes with you. Don’t hesitate to eliminate people or situations that derail you from your purpose.
Find yourself. Find your purpose.
Whatever that is, whoever you are… just remember to decide FOR YOURSELF.
5. SPEAK UP.
If you really believe in something, or you really oppose something… be willing to stand up and speak. I read a quote from Audre Lorde that summed this up PERFECTLY:
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
6. Find a confidant.
You have to have AT LEAST one best friend who knows everything about you, inside and out. This friend knows every little thought (The cellulite on my ass is never going to go away. I need to Pinterest some kind of waterproof cellulite make up for summer), every doubt (We’ve been married for 10 years. I know I love him… but should we REALLY be married?? Are we EVER going to get along?), and every stupid question you’ve ever pondered (Where in the Hell is Alaska on a map? Do goats have to have babies before we can get milk?)
One of my favorite quotes about friendship is “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
You’re going to have times where you don’t believe in yourself. Where you doubt your goals. Where you doubt your purpose. Where you doubt your passion. And it’s precisely at these moments that you need that confidant! Because she’s going to be able to remind you of who you are and what you believe and why.
7. Forgive yourself.
Forgiveness is something I’m working on this year. I have a natural inclination to berate myself constantly for even the smallest mistake. “Cutting myself some slack” is not a skill I was blessed with, but I’m trying to learn.
In moments where you’re tempted to be really hard on yourself, try to cut yourself some slack. When you don’t forgive yourself, you end up trapped in a cage of regret and shame. And that’s not helpful for anyone. Forgiveness is a gift that you MUST give yourself in order to live a successful life.
Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.
8. Be confident.
Being confident is all about knowing who you are- your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, etc. But you can’t limit yourself only to focusing on your strengths.
I once read an exercise that instructed the readers to make a list of a few things you do well and then another list of a few things that you wish you could do well. Everyday you should strive to do everything on the first list and also work on some of the things on the second list. When you use your strength to build up your weaker areas you actually end up building confidence.
To be confident, you have to believe in yourself! And you definitely SHOULD believe in yourself! You’re no doubt an amazing, intelligent, beautiful, loving, compassionate human being who can do anything!
Believe in yourself, take risks, learn to take a compliment, be brave…. And if all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it.
Just acting confident can make you more confident! 😉
9. Appreciate what makes you unique.
One of the biggest motivation and confidence killers is being a pessimist!
You no doubt have many unique gifts that make you who you are. Maybe you write really well. Maybe you have an incredible voice and can sing like Adele. Maybe you have the patience of a Saint and don’t mind helping kids learn to read. Maybe you are great at keeping a tidy house and organizing. Maybe you can throw outfits together like a high paid stylist at the drop of a hat.
Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do. Those are the things that make you who you are!
10. Recharge when you get overwhelmed
If you are someone who gets overwhelmed easily then you probably reach the point of “burnout” a little more often than most. I totally understand that because that’s ME. And when I get burnt out I’m not very pleasant to be around. I’m grumpy, inpatient, snappy and downright mean sometimes.
So, if you’re like me… instead of pushing yourself to the point of burnout, understand and accept that you need to take the time to recharge. And then TAKE THAT TIME.
You aren’t doing yourself any favors by trying to go-go-go like your friends, without any downtime… especially when you know that when you get burned out you’re going to be a mean witch to everyone you come in contact with, whether they deserve it or not.
11. Do no harm, take no shit.
I stole this one from a t-shirt that keeps creeping all over my Facebook newsfeed. I love the shirt because it’s so TRUE and it’s SO ME. But it’s been sold out every time I’ve tried to buy it.
ANYWAYS…. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
For me, I think the hardest part of life is figuring out how to respect the thoughts, opinions, lifestyles, morals, beliefs and behavior of others without being walked all over.
It IS possible to respect opinions that are different than your own, but it becomes harder to navigate when those opinions and beliefs start impacting your liberty to have opinions of your own.
Personally, this is one of the hardest areas of my life. When people hurt me or the people that I love most, it’s almost instinct to want for me to want to hurt them back. But I remind myself that lashing out will NOT fix the problem… usually it will actually make it worse.
On the other hand, you also can’t remain silent about things that matter. And while you certainly shouldn’t go out seeking trouble and conflict… there is a time and a place to stand your ground, fight for what’s right and take no shit.
It’s called balance 😉